It hasn’t necessarily been the most record breaking season for Robinson Cano and the Seattle Mariners in 2015, a fairly disappointing season in fact, but Tuesday night in the Mariners’ 6-5 win over the Oakland A’s, Cano broke a record that shows consistency more than anything.
After coming up through the New York Yankees organization to begin his career, the Mariners’ second baseman is in his eleventh big league season. Cano has hit at least 30 doubles in every year of his career, and Tuesday night at Safeco Field, he became the first player to do so in eleven consecutive seasons to open a career.
This double wasn’t your typical line shot that split the gap in left-center field. It was a blooper that found some outfield grass in left field and was followed by Cano running full speed all the way to second. He slid into the outside portion of the base as the throw came in, a perfect slide to avoid the tag from Brett Lawrie.
What is so ironic about this double is the hustle he showed getting into the base. Cano is always called out by the pundits saying that he doesn’t care or he doesn’t hustle (which sometimes is the case), but in this instance, he showed that he does care; granted, maybe it’s just when he wants to, but nonetheless he showed hustle on this particular play.
Consistency is key in baseball, and Cano joined some pretty elite company by accomplishing this record. He is now tied on the all time “Most Consecutive Seasons with 30+ Doubles” list with Joe Medwick and Ed Delahanty, and above him on the list are Tris Speaker with twelve consecutive seasons and Honus Wagner and Stan Musial with thirteen.
These guys all have something in common, too: they are all in the Baseball Hall of Fame. That is some pretty elite company for Cano to join, and him being the first one to do it to open a career ain’t too shabby either.
While it hasn’t been the most productive season for Cano, as his average sits below .300 at .277 for the first time since 2008 in New York, he has this record which is more telling than a batting average. He plays on a losing ball club that has greatly underperformed this season, and it may have rubbed off on Cano early on.
What this doubles record does show, is that batting average isn’t the key component to a good season at the plate. Cano has still hit 14 home runs to go along with 58 RBI, but with Nelson Cruz in Seattle now, his role at the plate has changed a bit. Cano doesn’t have the raw power that Cruz possesses, but what he does have is a fantastic hitter’s mind, and he has put that to good use in the second half.
So far in the second half, he is hitting a fantastic .343 and has figured something out that obviously wasn’t working in the first half when he hit just .251.
Just like any baseball player, you will go through your rough patches and struggle, but ultimately how you get out of that funk and rebound is what is important when all is said and done.
This record speaks to consistency. All of those other guys on the list were consistent at what they did, and Cano becoming the first to do it to open a career speaks to the consistency that he possesses and puts on display not only night in and night out, but over the span of eleven years.